Flemington's new $128-million-dollar Club Stand makes its debut in time for this year's spring racing carnival.
The five-level glass and steel framed building with 360 degree views sets a new benchmark for what it means to be a modern-day racegoer.
Designed by Bates Smart Architects, the curved architectural masterpiece comes with a grand sweeping staircase and was designed for the perfect Instagram selfie moment.
Gone With the Wind grandeur
"There is a real Gone with the Wind grandeur with the focus on the staircase," says the director of Bates Smart Jeff Copolov.
"We all know people dress up for the races, so the stairwell is like their catwalk – a place to see and be seen," he says.
"Someone sweeping down those stairs in a beautiful gown was the vision. This is the Instagram money shot."
Chairman for the VRC Amanda Elliott says the generational change at Flemington is a reflection of the times.
"We wanted to make a generational change for Flemington and to show racing is not just for the racing enthusiast – this is a place you can experience a beautiful day out and it was central to the concept for the stand," she adds. "It's about creating an appetite for racing."
The sky is the limit
The new stand captures the buzz of Flinders Lane with eateries and bars mimicking the buzzing cool of Melbourne's chic laneway over various levels while The Roof Garden shows the sky is the limit – think vertical gardens, an internal bar and a huge outdoor terrace with optimal views where shade umbrellas and sliding panels can open or minimise the space.
Most hyped is the arrival of a new fine-dining restaurant The Byerley [named after the famous thoroughbred] where 196 members can enjoy a refined five-star experience and be hosted by some of the leading chefs worldwide who will moonlight in the kitchen.
"This is by far the most prestigious 5-star dining experience. Think celebrity chefs appearing in this lush and plush setting. it's all floral banquettes and a garden setting that's restrained and elegant," says Copolov.
Elevated dining experience
The Dining Room, which sits 325 guests on Level 2 is where you head for an elevated dining experience. A modern palette of moss green and navy blues dominate while its décor pays homage to the Club's rich equine heritage with portraits from the VRC's art collection lining the walls. There's an a la carte menu, a dessert buffet where special wine luncheons are hosted throughout the racing season.
The Paddock Bar mimics a rustic stable vibe while The Bakery comes with pastries and premium coffee for early arrivals.
From the exterior, the curvaceous new stand looks like a cruise liner that's landed on the lawns at Flemington. According to Copolov, the exterior is supposed to conjure a floral bouquet, a decorative ornamental hat or a passing cruise ship. "It's meant to be uplifting, celebratory and festive," he says. "This is the new face of racing."
The Melbourne Cup Carnival runs from November 3-10.